Preparations are underway at the Country Club, almost ready to host the old Monte Carlo Open after the 2020 break forced by the pandemic. Meanwhile, reliable drafts have come out regarding the entry list, which will be officially published the day after tomorrow, Thursday 18th March: we can already confirm the exceptional nature of the parterre, even better than the average one of the pre-Covid era, which it has suffered from time to time the negative influence given by the non-obligatory nature of the event.
Of the first forty-five players in the ranking, those entitled to direct access to the draw, there will be just three: it is Roger Federer - who last week in Doha guaranteed his seasonal commitment to red without specifying which tournaments will be honored by his presence -, and the Canadians Milos Raonic and Denis Shapovalov.
“Shapo”, in particular, seems not to love the rich tournament of the Principality: in his career there are just two appearances in the Côte d'Azur (2018 and 2019), which ended with as many eliminations in the first round.
All the other big names will respond to the appeal. From eleven times champion Rafa Nadal to record number one Novak Djokovic; from the new number two Daniil Medvedev to Dominic Thiem, passing through Stefanos Tsitsipas, Sascha Zverev and Stan Wawrinka, who won a title in these parts, one of the few that escaped the hungry Majorcan in the last fifteen years.
Former World No. 26 Victor Hanescu recently revealed how Roger Federer is a completely different person on and off the court. According to Hanescu, the 39-year-old goes from being a polite guy to a fierce competitor the moment he walks out for a match.
Hanescu reflects on Roger Federer's attitude
"Roger Federer is a very elegant guy off the court," Victor Hanescu stated. "There are a lot of things he does out of politeness. He knows what level he is at and that he has to behave in a certain way.
But when he enters the court, he transforms completely and we can see a Roger Federer who is no longer so friendly and kind and becomes a ferocious fighter." During the interview, Victor Hanescu also recalled his first match against Roger Federer.
That meeting took place in 2004, when Romania and Switzerland faced off in a first-round Davis Cup tie in Bucharest. "When I warmed up I started slowly, it was easy to play and I thought, 'Yeah, it doesn't seem so bad!'," Hanescu said.
"But towards the end of the warm-up, Roger Federer hit a shot with his forehand that I still have in mind. I was impressed by the speed, it was a sign that showed me that this was waiting for me."